Melburnians’ love for rooftop bars is reaching new heights with sky-high terraces enjoying unprecedented patronage. And as the nights are long and the weather is fine (well, most of the time), there’s no better time to bask in the city’s top open-air bars. Here’s a few favourites if you’re keen to enjoy a tipple up top.
Good Heavens has become a favourite with the quaffing public with its cool cocktails and retro 80s vibe. The team behind Fancy Hanks have put their magic touch on Good Heavens, an Americana-themed bar offering cocktails, craft beers and wine, together with a great range of bar snacks like spicy Southern chicken ribs dressed in buttermilk and honey, chilli nachos with brisket mole and their famous cheeseburgers. A great spot for a long lunch!
Quite possibly Melbourne’s most beloved skyline bar, the aptly named Rooftop Bar has the distinction of offering patrons drinks, dancing, views, burgers, deckchairs and cinema. And since undergoing its first makeover since opening its doors in 2003, it now offers patrons enhanced comfort, while still maintaining all that was cool about the original bar. Be sure to book a ticket for the Rooftop Cinema and enjoy exclusive access after sundown.
Palmz at the Carlton
Be transported to an island paradise at Palmz rooftop above the Carlton Hotel. Complete with palm trees, bamboo, bougainvillaea and a thatched hut bar, Palmz provides a little after-work escapism. Weather permitting, this little slice of island life is the perfect place to indulge in pina colada while soaking up some rays.
This grand, recently revamped, three-storey brick pub boasts one of Melbourne’s original rooftop bars with spectacular views of the city skyline. The Roof, formerly known as The Deck, at the Waterside Bar has a great selection of bar snacks (burgers, chips and wings) and cool cocktails to keep you refreshed all summer long.
When the temperature rises Transit rooftop bar is the place to hang out with the cool crowd. Atop this riverside balcony, see the city from above with sweeping views of the Yarra River from the MCG to Southbank. Enjoy the live music as you watch the sun go down and indulge in a cool brew or creative cocktail. And the kitchen can whip up plenty of Asian-inspired snacks so you won’t go hungry.
What’s better than one place to grab a drink? Five in one! At Campari House, there are five levels of entertainment, including two rooftop bars. Enjoy pizza and drinks on the roof, or settle into one of the fully serviced private booths in the two-level lounge. There really is something for everyone at Campari House.
QT’s huge indoor-outdoor rooftop bar, QT rooftop, is open for sunset cocktails every night. The outdoor deck is enormous and slick and matched only by its interiors which are even slicker with a side of gloss. Seek out the central bar and fossick out one of the many nooks for after sunset shenanigans. It’s sleek. And it’s where all the cool people hang out.
Experience a real inner city Melbourne vibe, while sipping cocktails and tasting tempting tapas at Bomba Tapas Bar and Rooftop. With views out over the Lonsdale Street treetops, this smart spot provides the perfect perch to take in the iconic skyline. With a menu of Spanish delights to complement any cocktail or any one of the 30 bottled beers in stock. It’s open from 3pm daily.
Madame Brussels is one of the city’s first rooftop terraces and remains a firm favourite. Named after a 19th-century brothel owner well-known for her ‘unconventional’ lifestyle, the self-professed ‘rather fancy terrace and public house’ offers a delightful garden party atmosphere with enviable views over the city’s east side. With its pink walls, garden chaise lounges, white picket fences, faux grass complete with preppy staff in tennis whites, Madame Brussels is the peachy perfect place to visit for a glass of Prosecco or Pimms.
Terrace Bar at the Sheraton
Boasting impressive views of the skyline, Terrace Bar at Sheraton Melbourne, offers a delightful vantage point to while away a summer’s afternoon. This open air bar specialises in cocktails and tasty tapas. Or perhaps you could enjoy a Parisian-inspired afternoon tea with smoked salmon and caviar on toasted brioche along with mouth-watering macarons.
Siglo is an open-air rooftop terrace, upstairs from The Melbourne Supper Club. While it might not be your cheapest drinking option, you do get attentive table service, a substantial wine and cocktail list and sophisticated atmosphere. Siglo is geared towards a late supper, offering a range of options from foie gras to party pies, as well as classic desserts.
Melina on the Rooftop
With unforgettable views, attentive staff and a superbly designed interior – Melina on the Rooftop is a perfect place to unwind with a drink in hand. Its Greek cuisine is highly praised by punters, and while there is plenty of ouzo to indulge in, there’s also a cute cocktail menu alongside a selection of fine wines and craft beers. Worth the elevator ride up to the 13th floor.
Loop Roof is a sky-high cocktail bar and restaurant made all the more special with its open air, garden setting. On a warm night, try the Loop punch, with Havana Club, Cognac, peach liqueur and bitters, gomme syrup and lemon.
With its subtle nods to the classic fairy tale, Goldilocks offers a creative cocktail list that is neither too hot nor too cold but just right with a selection of tasty treats to enjoy on the rooftop. There’s certainly no porridge here, but it is a place for fun, adventure and even has the space to hide from the big bad wolf.
While it’s not easy to spot, it’s certainly worth the look. With an easy-to-miss entry via Tattersalls Lane, Ferdydurke is a hip and lofty space. It offers cocktails, Vietnamese food, hot dogs (it has its own frankfurt menu), truffle mac and cheese and chilli cheese potatoes and a relaxed balcony. It’s a firm favourite with the cocktail crowd.
Looking for more?
An icon of Carlton, Jimmy Watson’s houses one of the area’s best-kept elevated secrets, Wolf’s Lair. Enjoy the intimacy of the petite bar or sit up in the treetops amongst the perfectly manicured gardens. There’s a selection of refreshing beers and ciders, plus a range of local and international wine and bubbles.
Taking rooftop bars to new heights is Blue Diamond. Fifteen floors above the city streets, this Art Deco jazz bar is like a 1920s Manhattan speakeasy with a panoramic balcony with what could be the mightiest views of any bar in the city.
Cabinet is quaint in the ‘I feel at home here’ kind of way. It’s in the heart of the bustling city, and it attracts a loyal crowd keen for a refreshing drink while watching the world go by on Swanston Street. Blackboard menus direct you to the selection of snacks, cheese, flatbreads and sharing plates.
If you’ve worked your way through all these and you still want to get higher in Melbourne, check out the city’s other rooftop bars.